Running a pub is a complex business

By Gerry Price

- Last updated on GMT

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Price: "As a nod to the main event, we are having our very own Pub Olympics, to be held in our garden"
Price: "As a nod to the main event, we are having our very own Pub Olympics, to be held in our garden"
It is a busy time of year right now and balancing cost control with great customer service is a challenge. Add in the additional effort for promotional activity vital to keep that sparkle in your customers’ eyes and it makes it a serious job.

For a dining pub we made the most of the jubilee with a garden party for 150 people, the football with a select bunch of regulars in the snug, and now we are working on how best to link ourselves to the Olympics.

The Inn is nowhere near any Olympic events, not even the cycling, which is at Box Hill, but no use to us. The shooting could have been at Bisley, just two miles away, but instead is at Woolwich.

However, we mustn’t take our eye off the ball. There will be a lot of visitors on the move who will pick the Inn out from one of the guides and we must welcome them, ensure that they have a good time and leave as ambassadors for us.  

However, as a nod to the main event, we are having our very own Pub Olympics, to be held in our garden on Sunday 5 August. We will have winners’ medals lined up for events such as Shove the Euro, the Give Bankers the Sack Race and Miss the Penalty.

The wood oven will be fired up, just like our event competitors, and we are hoping it will give us all a laugh while the serious competitions are being held.

In the middle of all this we’ll be making sure that our costs are competitive — it has just taken me two hours to save £1,000 on next year’s electricity bill, and change our refuse collection service to save £3,000 next year.

We’ll also be buying better quality juices for a more demanding clientele and sniffing out bargains for the wine list. Running a tied house, I can’t negotiate beer prices, but I can make sure I buy ales that make a better margin, as well as please our customers.

Then, while many of the regulars are away on holiday, we’ll be working on Christmas menus as well as organising special events such as weddings, company dinners or wine tastings.

We seem to have more and more bespoke events, which, although time consuming, are more profitable as they are personal and so can be priced at a premium.

I have said it before, pubs are now like small big businesses with planning, budgeting, sales and marketing, recruitment and training all in the mix.

As the Guv’nor you are responsible for all these things and the way that you manage the resources at your disposal will determine your success. To do it all with a smile on your face — now there’s the real challenge.

  • Gerry Price is the licensee of the Inn@West End, Woking, Surrey

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